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“Later on, I went to work for David and Lesley Cohn for over seven years, at Dakota and then Blue Point — a great learning experience. And right after that, there was a change in my life. Me being a chef, and my ex-wife graduated from the police academy...talk about a fork in the road! So we broke up, and I took some time off and went to the Cordon Bleu in Paris.”

When he came back, he was chef at Gulf Coast for a few years, but at the end of opening day, his best friend and co-chef went home and committed suicide, so he doesn’t like to remember that period. “After that, I got lucky to work for Ed Moore, when he was opening the Third Corner. I helped him revamp his Thee Bungalow menu for a year and a half. Then an old friend of mine introduced me to Brad Miller, and we had this chemistry and he had this great energy. He gave me the opportunity to redirect Gringo’s and then to open JRDN for him.”

After more than five years working for Miller, Jimenez quit JRDN to take some time off to recover his health after all the years of nonstop work. “I needed to remove myself from everything and everybody and get healthy, because I was going through a lot of stuff in my life. I went into the basement and hibernated for a good amount of time. Then my friend Jon [Weber] got me out of the basement and got me involved in his dream of making this restaurant.” I asked him whether he’d worked at Ruth’s Chris in the interim, since their website shows his name as chef at the Harbor Drive branch, and one of the managers there told me it was the same Victor Jimenez who just opened Cowboy Star. Victor says they once tried to recruit him, but he never actually worked there. (Will the real Victor Jimenez please stand up?)

“I’m really happy and excited about what we’ve got,” Jimenez says, “and the transformation of this area here. When I was thinking about this place, I thought over the theme of cowboy stars. I think of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and Gene Autry. I was playing with the idea of the cowboy stars of the screen, fantasies of being a star, and it just gave me an outlet to start creating in that aspect. Perhaps those guys were really full vegetarians! But they all came across as steak guys.”


Cowboy Star

  • 4.5 stars
  • (Excellent)

640 Tenth Avenue (north of Market), 619-450-5880, thecowboystar.com.

HOURS: Lunch weekdays 10:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.; dinner Tuesday–Thursday 5:00–10:00 p.m.; Friday–Saturday till 10:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch noon–3:00 p.m. Butcher shop open Tuesday–Friday noon–7:00 p.m.; Sunday noon–3:00 p.m.

PRICES: Starters, $8–$18; entrées, $19–$30; steaks, $29–$43.

CUISINE AND BEVERAGES: Carnivorous California green cuisine, emphasizing high-quality beef (USDA prime or grass-fed and natural) and wild game, wild or free-range fowl, and wild-caught seafood. Mainly California wines, wide range of prices and styles. Full bar.

PICK HITS: Wild boar carpaccio; buttermilk-fried sweetbreads; sarsaparilla quail; bison rib-eye; grass-fed petite filet; dry-aged strip-steak; Meyer lemon pot au crème.

NEED TO KNOW: Paid parking lot across the street (may be full during Petco games). Sound lively, can be loud when full. No vegetarian entrées.

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Comments

Sheryl July 16, 2008 @ 1:09 p.m.

I couldn't agree with this review more -- and although I am not as "adventurous" an eater as Naomi or her posse -- I loved everything about this restaurant -- it's decor (cool and comfy), the music (who doesn't love Patsy Cline?) and the food. Along with the steak I ordered (which was done perfectly) -- my friend and I also shared the crab cake (lots of tasty crab, not much filling) and the heirloom tomatoes. I am definitely going back -- and may even try the quail.

Quick question -- I have a friend who is coming to town from London -- and he loves Châteaubriand. Is there a restaurant in SD that serves this? I can't recall seeing it anywhere I've eaten -- but then again, I've probably never looked for it either.

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wineadvantage July 17, 2008 @ 10:24 a.m.

Your best bet might be Mr A's or Mille Fleurs. Call around and you'll find it.

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M. E. July 20, 2008 @ 7:34 p.m.

Sheryl -- if you're unsure of how to punctuate -- just put in a double dash.

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rich8310 Aug. 2, 2008 @ 9:31 p.m.

I was very disappointed with the Cowboy Star....I read all the reviews in the Reader about how this place was supposed to be better than Ruth's Chris. The food and service was decent at best. It felt like all the service staff was fresh out of high school or college.....they had good personalities but seem to lack general fine dining knowledge. The quality of my steak (NY Strip) was closer to a steak that I would find at Outback than a steak at Ruth's Chris or Flemings. I feel that you do not need to put a sauce on a steak to make it taste better, the steak should be able to stand alone....it was a little like window dressing the steak. 2 of the 3 desserts were over cooked and left a bad taste in our mouth. The vibe in the restaurant was okay, I just would play some different music (they are trying to be fine dining restaurant, not a country bar). I would not go back....maybe worth a try if you go out to eat a lot but I would not spend my money here again. I will stick to the other steak houses downtown.

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chris2269 Aug. 29, 2008 @ 9:30 a.m.

I had the exact opposite experience. I found it excellent. Having just come from two great steak dinners at Wolfgang Puck's Cut and Craft Steak in Las Vegas. I wasn't expecting to be blown away. The Bison rib eye and beef rib eye were fantastic. I rarely go back to restaurants so soon because there are just so many to try, but I will be heading back to Cowboy Star for my sisters birthday. I've been to Donovan's, Flemings, Ruth's Chris and was far more impressed by my steak at Cowboy Star. They are a new restaurant and that sometimes leads to consistency issues so that may be at play with a less than satisfactory experience. I again though have nothing but praise for the establishment.

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Sheryl Oct. 1, 2008 @ 4:29 p.m.

Gosh jhutt -- thanks -- I think I will : )

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M. E. Oct. 3, 2008 @ midnight

That's the spirit. Take pride in you ignorance. As Sarah Palin did tonight.

I follow.

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Duhbya Oct. 3, 2008 @ 6:33 a.m.

"Take pride in you (sic) ignorance."

It doesn't get any better than this.

Priceless.

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M. E. Oct. 2, 2008 @ 2:23 p.m.

That's the spirit. Take pride in your ignorance. Revel in it. Like Sarah Palin.

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Duhbya Oct. 2, 2008 @ 3:28 p.m.

jhutt say no. What're you - the Punctuation Police?

File under: Life, get, one.

Ya follow?

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M. E. Oct. 3, 2008 @ 4:49 p.m.

Really? It doesn't get better than that? A typo?

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Duhbya Oct. 5, 2008 @ 4:42 a.m.

Considering the oxyMORONIC "subject matter", initiated by you, and your overwhelming puerile need to mock a poster's keyboard style, and viewing the "typo" in the word just before your self-description, yes, in this egomaniacal mission you are on, it cannot get any better than that. It just cannot. The icing is your assumption that anyone exposing your inanity must be a Palin drone. Hey, you're the type of narrow-minded voter she's appealing to, apparently. Do the manly, uh, genderly thing and apologize to Sheryl and count that as the first step as you resume your search for that life you long for.

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 15, 2008 @ 1:32 a.m.

AH! I love the use of "you are" as the ultimate argument stopper. First Ollie, now Jhutt... it's a beautiful thing.

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